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High Park playground fire officially being probed as arson

Toronto police are investigating the fire at the popular wooden playground in the south end of High Park as arson.

Someone spotted the flames in the large wooden castle at the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground around 3 a.m. Saturday. When officers arrived at the scene the structure was fully engulfed.

The castle was completely destroyed. Local city councillor Sarah Doucette has been getting calls from people willing to help rebuild the play area and a Facebook group was created. Canadian Tire has stepped up with an offer of $50,000.

There’s no word yet on when construction would start, but Doucette has said she wants it ready for kids this summer.

“We’ve had offers from our local fire department, local unions. We’ve got a construction company nearby which is all women. There is so many offers of help out there, it’s overwhelming,” said Coun. Sarah Doucette, Parkdale- High Park.

The playground was originally built in 1998, largely by volunteers.

“It’s shocking, devastating. I mean really? Would you really choose a kid’s playground to burn down?” said parent Valerie.

“It’s really sad,” said three-year-old Madelyn. “Somebody has to say sorry.”

Police are asking anyone with information on the fire to contact investigators at (416) 808-1150 or Crime Stoppers at (416) 222-TIPS.